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Medical Negligence Claims
Medical negligence (sometimes called clinical negligence) is used to describe any treatment, lack of treatment, or any other departure from accepted standards of medical care, which causes harm to a patient.
Most medical treatment will be of a high standard, but sometimes mistakes happen. Often you can recover from the harm this causes, but some mistakes can have serious, long-term consequences. Healthcare professionals are expected to perform to a certain standard: if they fail to do this they may be found negligent.
What is Medical Negligence?
Some examples of medical negligence include:
- Improper treatment
- Failure to treat
- Delay in treatment
- Failure to perform an appropriate follow-up
- Prescription errors.
During a claim for medical negligence, the standard of a medical professional’s care is measured against that of his or her peers. If, when confronted with the same circumstances, ‘a significant body’ of fellow practitioners would have acted in the same way, the doctor or surgeon will not be found negligent.
This is not absolute, though: if a number of alternative methods of treatment were available, even if the treatment used was supported by a body of medical practitioners, a finding of negligence may still result if its use did not stand up to logical analysis.
Smaller cases may be settled in a matter of months, whereas complex cases can take several years.
Firstly, you should make a formal complaint to the people you think are responsible. A hospital Trust will likely have a formal complaints procedure in place to clarify the process, but in all cases, complaints can be made in a formal letter explaining why you feel your treatment was negligent. The response to a complaint can be a useful way of your solicitor finding out the potential Defendant’s stance on your injury, and if you do go on to make a claim, the Court will expect you to have made a complaint first.
When you make a claim, you will be referred to as the ‘Claimant’, and the person you are claiming against is the ‘Defendant.’
Once instructed, your solicitor will gather evidence to show that the Defendant was responsible for your injury. This will include your medical records, witness statements from you and your family, and reports from expert medical witnesses. In the majority of cases, Defendants will prepare their own evidence.
Most medical negligence claims don’t end in a full trial, and it is unlikely that that you will have to give evidence in Court. The legal procedure rules encourage people to resolve claims without going to Court, and the Claimant and the Defendant can offer to settle the claim at any point in the process. The vast majority of claims will conclude like this.
TIME LIMITS ON MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS
Medical claims must be brought within three years of the date of the negligent act. However, there are exceptions to this rule. In some situations, the time limits are extended: this can apply to injuries to children or those without mental capacity, and injuries of which the victim was not aware until later.
To avoid running into problems with time limits, it is advisable to approach a solicitor as early as possible.
Who We Work With
AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) are the UK charity for patient safety and justice. They work with those affected by avoidable medical negligence, both to help the individual to find justice, and to promote better patient safety for everyone.
Enable Law are accredited by AvMA as Clinical Negligence claim specialists, which means you can be confident in the quality of legal advice that we provide.
Speak to a Medical Negligence Lawyer Now
Our team of experienced medical negligence solicitors are here to help you claim vital medical compensation, no matter the reason. We will work with you to establish the circumstances of the negligence, and will always be upfront about the chances of your claim being successful.
Call us today for a free, confidential discussion of your claim.0800 044 8488